Policy and practice round-up June 2011

02 June 2011

A wide-ranging round-up this month, giving you updates from the CLA and news of digital funding, a new music competition for young people, the evaluation of online museum learning tools, the National Art and Design Saturday Club Scheme, the Clore Award for Museum Learning, philanthropic giving to cultural learning, and riveting reports from Paul Hamlyn and from the Obama Administration.

CLA National Strategy for Cultural Learning

The development of the CLA National Strategy for Cultural Learning is currently underway, with plans in place for a number of consultation sessions to take place across the country over the next month and an online survey due to go live in the next few weeks. We will be asking all our signatories and partners to shape the key priorities for and principles of cultural learning and will be looking to publish a clear, practical route-map that helps us all to collaborate effectively and navigate our new landscape in the new year.

We will be presenting these ideas and plans directly to the Henley Review of Cultural Education at the end of July, following on from the written submission we sent through in May. As ever, please do let us know at if you have any thoughts or would like to feed into this process.

The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities

Over in America, the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (chaired by Michelle Obama) has produced a new report: Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future through Creative Schools. The Committee found ‘a growing body of research to support positive educational outcomes associated with arts-rich schools’ and seeks to address inequalities of access to high-quality provision. One of the key recommendations involves all stakeholders coming together to collaborate and find practical solutions for working together – rather like the CLA.

The White House has made some strong and inspiring statements in support of integrated and prioritised cultural learning which you can read on the official blog.

Digital Research and Development Fund

The NESTA/Arts Council Digital Research and Development Fund for Arts and Culture was launched this month and will be worth £500,000 over 2011/12. The Fund will consider a range of projects, small and large, with no one project receiving more than £100,000 from the Fund.

Education & learning is one of the key themes that the Fund would like to explore and NESTA and ACE invite partners to use the Fund to develop interactive education and learning resources for children, teachers, young people, adult learners and arts and cultural sector professionals. The deadline for submissions is 12 noon, 2 September 2011.

Next BRIT thing

Young people aged 11-19 from Great Britain and Northern Ireland are being encouraged to register for Next BRIT thing, a new nationwide music competition backed by the UK music industry and the government. Next BRIT thing is looking for young musicians in any genre to share their performances, compete in online charts and perform live. Young people entering Next BRIT thing will also have access to high-quality tutorials and resources to help them improve their skills, develop confidence and explore careers in the creative industries. There are separate categories for both pop and classical music, with an additional award for composition.

The competition is delivered by a partnership of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, Radiowaves, NUMU and Musical Futures, with support from the BRIT Trust, PRS for Music, the Official Charts Company and the Music Industry Association with media support from Metro newspapers and Global Radio.

From September 2011, entrants can submit video and audio of their performances to be assessed by their peers as a weekly chart. The Next BRIT thing website at is now open for registration.

The National Museums Online Learning Project

The National Museums Online Learning Project is asking for support in evaluating a programme called WebQuests, consisting of over 100 online educational tools promoting open-ended investigation with museum collections for pupils and teachers across Key Stages 1-4.

They are asking teachers and practitioners to spend a few minutes completing this survey and for young people to feed in their thoughts through this online questionnaire. Teachers can win a National Art Pass and young people Amazon vouchers for taking part.

National Art and Design Saturday Club Scheme

Last week the Guardian published an article highlighting the work of the National Art and Design Saturday Club Scheme. Young people’s work will go on show this week at Somerset House.

Clore Award for Museum Learning

A spotlight shone on cultural learning this month when the inaugral Clore Award for Museum Learning was awarded to joint winners: the South London Gallery and a consortium of the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. This is a new award that recognises and celebrates quality, impact and innovation in using museums and galleries for learning activities and initiatives. The judges were so impressed with the learning work they reviewed that the prize money was doubled in order to recognise the achievements of both organisations and award them £10,000 each.

Catalyst Arts

Good news too for the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, given £30,000 by Lady Sainsbury to support their work with children and young people. Hopefully this kind of private philanthropic giving to cultural learning will be boosted by the Arts Council’s new £40 million Catalyst Arts fund.

Whose Cake Is It Anyway?

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s report ‘Whose cake is it anyway?’ has revealed the need for a fundamental shift in the museum and gallery sector’s approach to participation and engagement. It presents findings from work led by Dr Bernadette Lynch with 12 museums and galleries in the UK – exploring how far institutions were truly engaged with communities in their area.